A stroll along Main Street in Sag Harbor offers the whimsical amid the practical, where Schiavoni's Market and Emporium True Value Hardware Store mingle with high-end clothing and jewelry boutiques, galleries, and home décor and interior design shops.
Sag Harbor is also quaint and walkable. Its Main Street is lined with shops for several blocks, with convenient benches for weary shoppers to regroup. Banners featuring photos of residents and shopkeepers urge shoppers to wear masks, and stores offer hand sanitizer; some smaller shops limit the number of people inside at one time. Many also offer curbside pickup and delivery.
This year's holiday festivities are slightly different because of coronavirus precautions. With its Friday Night Lights campaign (Nov. 27 to Dec. 18), the Chamber of Commerce is encouraging shops to offer promotions after 4 p.m. and to stay open until 7 p.m. At the Dec. 4 holiday kickoff, lights on the large tree by the wharf will be turned on at 6:30 p.m. There will be a drive-through visit from Santa on a fire truck from 5 to 7 p.m. on Dec. 11, said Lisa Field, chamber president.
Angled parking lines the main drag, and there's a municipal lot. Public restrooms are available near Marine Park on Bay Street by the wharf, and Monday through Friday, restrooms are available in the municipal building on Main Street. And if all shopping gets to be too much, plan your escape into a book with a stop at independent bookstores Sag Harbor Books (7 Main St.) and Canio's Books (290 Main St.), which is celebrating its 40th year.
Eloise Snodgrass, 10, and her twin sisters, Violet and Hanna, 8, were out shopping with their mom, Jennifer Langnas, heading into Sag Harbor Books to stock up on reading material. Each has her favorite village store. "I love the bookstore because it has a variety of books and everyone is so nice," Eloise said, while Violet likes Ethel + Row children's clothing store, and Hanna likes Sag Harbor Variety Store. "We love downtown, and we're happy there are so many independent shops," said Jennifer of North Haven and the West Village in Manhattan.
It's possible this holiday season to shop locally and do good, courtesy of founder Patricia Assui Reed's store Matriark (133 Main St., 631-919-5577, matriark.com). Matriark’s has a porch entrance that is invitingly decorated by season. The fashion, design and decorative items it sells from female-owned companies help sustain female business owners, and part of the proceeds help women in need. This year, Reed said, 2.5% of net sales will go to the East End charity i-tri, a triathlon fitness and empowerment program for girls, and 2.5% will go to the Ms. Foundation for Women. Her store offers limited-edition Leret Leret cashmere sweaters, along with shoes, designer jewelry and lifestyle items. It also offers fellowship, currently via Zoom meetings, to help build and maintain community through its Matriark Club.
If you need a Le Creuset skillet along with a platter and dishes for serving, LSA glassware, or Sferra or Yves Delorme bedding, check out In Home (132 Main St., 631-725-7900, inhomesagharbor.com). Owners David Brogna and John Scocco have kitchen accessories and home items that include American Leather furniture and Diptyque candles.
Brogna, vice president of the chamber, said store owners hope the summer sales uptick from people with second homes or long-term rentals continues through the holidays. "They want to know the village, and it's more environmentally responsible if you go to a store than if you order online," he said.
For that household thing you need — or thing you didn't know you needed — there's the classic 5-and-10 store, Sag Harbor Variety (114 Main St., 631-725-9706, sagharborvariety.com).
Its warren of aisles holds everything from mops, dustpans and window blinds to school and craft supplies, cards, ribbons and seasonal decorations, sewing notions and colorful bolts of fabric. Owner Lisa Field said the store, in place since 1922, is celebrating 50 years this fall since the former Ben Franklin was purchased by her parents, Phil and Roseann Bucking.
While you're in Sag Harbor, here are other stores to check out:
Toy and gift store The Wharf Shop (69A Main St., 631-725-0420, wharfshop.com) offers items from nautically inspired holiday ornaments to wooden jigsaw puzzles, toys, cards, dollhouse furniture and gifts with a Sag Harbor theme, this store offers a bit of everything.
Men's clothing store Ryland Life Equipment (26 Madison St., 631-919-5433, rylandlife.com) has clothing from casual wear to designer winter coats, along with cashmere sweaters, shoes and candles from Voyage et Cie and New Zealand's Curionoir brand.
Toy store Kites of the Harbor (75 Main St., 631-725-9063, facebook.com/75mainst) packs a lot into its space, from the advertised kites and spinners to toys, puzzles and novelty items.
LoveShackFancy (117 Main St., 631-808-3995, loveshackfancy.com) has a floral designer dress or sweater inspired by vintage finds for most occasions. The women's clothing store also has girls clothing for matching mother-daughter looks.
Grindstone (7A Main St., 631-808-3370, grindstonedonuts.com): The cozy shop is a popular grab-and-go pit stop for a cup of coffee and oversize brioche-style doughnuts in such variations as honey and vanilla bean glaze, blueberry lemon and crème brûlée. Lulu Kitchen & Bar (126 Main St., 631-725-0900, lulusagharbor.com): This atmospheric Sag Harbor bistro has on-point Montauk Pearl and Peeko oysters, top neck clams on the half shell and an ornate seafood tower complete with grilled crab and big-eye tuna tartare. LT Burger on the Harbor (62 Main St., 631-899-4646, ltburger.com): The breakfast crowd goes for coffee and bagels in the cafe area before service segues into lunch and dinner staples including burgers, ribs and made-for-Instagram shakes.
— Quick Bites are compiled by Newsday food writers Corin Hirsch, Erica Marcus and Scott Vogel